I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

Poor little Genie.  She’s just teaching her family why she hates certain shoes, when along comes a dance recital!

Imagine how Excited she was to see this:

Seriously tootache-inducing sweetness, right?  Dreamy?

She tried it on,  and ~~screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam~~ OUCH! More like a nightmare.

Those sparkly sweet sequins don’t make Genie smile anymore, in fact, she hates the dress, and she’s “Not Wearing It!”  Which in and of itself would be just fine, if she hadn’t worked so hard and so long in dance class to be able to perform for her family and friends. And she wants to dance, her parents and grandparents want to see, and the friends in her class are counting on her.

Thank goodness, Genie’s mom didn’t just assume her daughter was “acting out” or “being 4.”  In fact, she’s been investigating Genie’s sensory issues with an Occupational Therapist.  And, little Genie’s mommy is a good friend of mine.  At school one day, M. asked if I know of any possible solutions for scratchy costumes.  (Other than giving up on dancing, that is.)


The only way I know to fight “scratchy” is with “soft”… so I did:

You can barely see it, but the little one will love her dress again.  I made a 3/4″ tube of super-soft pale pink fabric and hand-tacked it to the neckline, so Genie’s skin is protected from the scritchy-scratchy tulle, the sharp sequins, and the exposed elastic that was bothering her, too.  Here’s an inside view of the work-in-progress:

It doesn’t take an expert to alter a costume for comfort.  A hand-sewing needle, some thread, and the hem of an old t-shirt will work wonders.  The only part of the neckline that touches the tiny dancer is the soft knit edges.

I hope dance recital season is wonderful for everyone.  I know one little girl who’s thrilled to get on stage, now.


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  • Icicle June 5, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like you, Karen.  You make this world a better place.

    I have to say, the worst kids’ clothes I’ve ever dealt with have been dance costumes — poorly made, ridiculously expensive, and yes — actually painful to wear.  I was so relieved when Kat’s Irish dance academy specified a black tee and gray jersey skirt for their recital.  I did not miss those crappy sequins at all (and I don’t think Kat did either!)

    • Karen June 9, 2012, 2:17 pm

      Oh C, darling, you’re so sweet to say that!

      This stitching was just the beginning, but I hope it helps some baffled mommy with a scratchy costume at home.

      I also removed some sequins that were slicing into the poor wee girl’s belly because the consstruction is such that the tutu is connected with sequins inside from the edge of the front panel.  Talk about painful!

      I like the black tee and grey jersey!  Who wouldn’t want to wear that?

  • Stephanie Cousins June 13, 2012, 3:32 am

    I like this post a lot- both your common-sense approach to a simple problem, and the title… Sometimes all the sparkles feel like broken glass, and it’s always disappointing… 

  • Glenna Urton January 17, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Hi Karen,
    I love wearing sequin blouses, but cannot stand the inside of my upper arms being scratched raw. Can you make something that I can wear on both arms to protect my sensitive skin from the sequins, and not be too noticeable? I am desperate to find something so that I can continue to wear all my pretty blouses without suffering for days afterwards with red, raw skin. Thank you.

    • Karen January 17, 2014, 12:12 pm

      I’m sure I can, Glenna. Why don’t you email me and we can talk further?


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